Remember Your Manners and Keep it in Perspective

For the past few weeks we receive anywhere from 2-4 calls a day from some politician or some group that supports some other politician with some “important” message. I have also been inundated with email full of “panic” and “need to act right now OR ELSE” messages against this candidate or that candidate. While I avoided them for awhile – I started picking up this week. While some are annoying and I am able to unsubscribe or stop receiving them by opting out – I still get an occasional call that makes me shake my head.

Yesterday I got a call from someone who was spinning a very negative message on someone I respect, will vote for, and have a sign in my front yard supporting (Tammy Duckworth). As they spit out the first few sentences “Did you you..” I interrupted the person talking and said – “yes I did know and I plan to vote for them”. I thought I would get a “well did you know something else” or at the very least “well thanks for your time” – but instead I got dial tone.

People seem to be nastier and more aggressive this year with the election. I know we are all stressed out with everything going on – but let’s try to remember some common courtesy. Perhaps some of us should have watched more Sesame Street as kids to learn manners and right from wrong.

Washington DC

Washington DC is a special place. When you there and walk around amongst the museums and monuments – there is a feeling that remains constant regardless of time or age. We had the perfect day this past Saturday to walk around and see the sights.


I specifically wanted to see the new MLK Jr. monument so we headed into the city on the Metro, got off at the Smithsonian stop, walked a bit of the mall and then went over to see it. This monument may be my favorite one. The messages are clear and the facial expression on the carved Martin Luther King could not be more powerful. If you have the chance – you definitely do not want to miss this.


We then headed over to the Korean War monument where I experienced an amazing moment in time. There were a number of older (70s+) with guides showing them the monument. The experience of seeing these vets view a monument that was either directly for them or for other vets from a different war that they fought in brought tears to my eyes. Seeing the vets at this monument put everything into perspective and made it all the more meaningful.

Sometimes we just need to step back from our busy lives and take a look around at some of the truly great things in life, how we got them, and what was given up in order for others have a better life. Visiting a special place like Washington DC definitely is a place that will always make me stop and appreciate these things and I am glad I took the afternoon to visit.

Health Care Reform

I was up late Sunday night watching the news coverage on this and I was happy I could witness this historical moment in our country’s history. Everyone has their own opinion on the bill that was passed and here is mine. I do not expect all to agree, but here is my take.

As a small business owner I am delighted to hear that this is available. Trying to find affordable and quality health care for my business has been a nightmare – now there will be an option for people who would have been turned away due to pre-existing conditions or any other reason. I have personally experienced the difficulty of getting insurance as well as have several other friends who wanted to start their own business but could not because they could not qualify for insurance because of knee surgeries, etc. Now – they can no longer sit in a dead end job “just for the insurance”.

While I do not think this law makes us a socialist nation or that the government is going to take over everything, reform and regulations must be put in place. It is time the doctors treat you and not the insurance companies.

Further more, over the last few months as more and more of my hard core Republican friends who have been laid off are getting near to the end of their Cobra coverage are starting to freak out because they cannot get health insurance. At this extremely stressful point in their lives – they finally realized an option (private insurance companies of course) would literally be life saving. Funny how things work…

Honestly – I think this is a lot less invasive and a lot more beneficial than most people understand it to be. I have my family members and friends who still think Obama and the left wing are going to take their guns from them and I am saddened by the fact they live with such unrealistic fear. The same goes for health care. It is well known that the Republican party is much better at communicating with the public (even if it takes scare tactics) than the Democrats, and I believe this is the real issue here. The Democrats are so surprised how far the Republicans go to sway their contingency that they fail to communicate at all with further polarizes us.

I am an independent and see value in both parties’ views on particular issues, but I am happy to see this get signed into law and hopefully this will help a number of people – especially now when so many people are out of work and have no health insurance.

Wasting Money the Government Way

Here in Illinois we have been hearing about the Rod Blagojevich fiasco for weeks. I have been busy for the last few weeks and have not watched the news or his trial – but I did happen to catch that as soon as he was impeached – IL spent $15,000 to remove signs on our highways that had his name on them (Open Road Tolling–Rod R. Blagojevich Governor). PS – these signs cost $480,000 to create and put up.

I am disgusted with the waste that I continually see government organizations partake in on a daily basis. I remember when I transitioned from working for a higher education/non-profit workplace to working for my own for-profit company. The first few weeks I really saw how much more effective for-profit companies are and have to be (both mine and others that I worked with) compared to the constant flow of tax money into some government/non-profit organizations.

Not that I believe all non-profit and government organizations are extremely wasteful – but the moderate in me – would love to see some of our government and non-profit organizations have to make money before they could spend it. I bet you things would quickly change (and it drives me crazy that it would change…because organizations should spend money carefully and responsibly regardless of their profitability – in my opinion). Responsibility should not be forced…but perhaps it should for some?

Do I agree that most of the organizations have the best interests in mind for Americans? For the most part…yes, but just like with anything – you really do not appreciate what you have until you have worked for/earned it. I can guarantee you that some of the projects that take years to complete would either get outsourced or dropped as they should instead of taking up valuable resources. Ineffective managers/workers would get the boot and every dollar brought in and then spent would be appreciated, counted, and better used. I would love to see this play out because I think a wake up call is needed – especially now since our government is in so much debt, programs are bloated, and general waste is high.

Do I agree that Rod Blagojevich needed to be removed from office – yes (assuming the evidence holds up)…but do I agree with removing the signs and wasting overall almost half a million dollars? No. Please – whoever made this decision…wow. Thanks for wasting more of our money, especially when we could have used that for education, construction, etc.

US Inauguration Traditions

Yesterday for the first time I actually got the chance (or remember) to see a lot of the activities prior to the actual presidential inauguration. As someone that absolutely loves history – yesterday was so magical for so many reasons.

First of all – to see over 2 million people peacefully (no arrests) come together to share this moment was amazing. It really shows you that we are an incredible and good hearted people. There were so many stories of strangers becoming friends and enjoying the company of the person to the left or right of them.

Second of all – I got to witness a lot of the traditions that I never saw before because of school, work, etc. After seeing them – I did some research so I could provide a few interesting facts that even my sister might appreciate.

  • George Washington was sworn in on April 30, 1789 in New York City. He understood the importance of it all, but decided to wear very plain clothes to show he was a man of the people.
  • Thomas Jefferson was the first president to be sworn in as president in Washington, DC.
  • When Adams got sworn in – many of the people there paid more attention on the Washingtons leaving – so now it is custom that the ex-president leave quietly after the ceremony so all attention is on the president-elect.
  • Any book can be used to administer the oath. What would I use? One of my LBJ biographies of course.
  • In 1949, Harry Truman was the first president to have his inauguration on nationwide TV
  • In 2009, Jennifer Zelazny watched the ceremonies for the first time ever streamed on cbs.com

Best of all – there is such a sense of hope from so many individuals that never felt it. To see them so happy, so excited, and looking into the future with such promise…it is really inspiring. Let’s hope that Obama can turn things around!

White House Blog

I came across the new White House Blog today: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/. Although it is not WordPress 😉 – I will definitely follow this and see how they actually use it. If you have never been to the White House web site – it is definitely worth a visit. The site has all kinds of facts, videos, speeches, and of course – the blog.

Not a Late Night at All!

I was ready to spend my entire evening and early morning glued to to TV on election night as there would surely be some sort of controversy with voting – but the winner was clear..all before 11pm CST. I thought both Obama and McCain gave great speeches. Seeing McCain give his speech was like seeing the old MacCain I could have voted for in 2000. I thought Obama’ speech was perfect. He is a strong, confident, intelligent force and I hope good things will come of the next four years. All in all – I was happy to see both men graciously accept their future roles in American history.

The Vote: 2008

I remember voting in 1996 – my first ever Presidential election. Back in those days I attended Young Republican meetings at Penn State and I voted for Bob Dole. The next two elections I voted for the democrats that ran and even attended my first rally (for Al Gore) in Daley Plaza with Ben and I have to say it was pretty awesome. I would have considered voting for McCain in 2000 – I thought he was a stronger candidate than Bush, but others disagreed with me.

This election is huge. I was really hoping Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic candidate, but over the last few months I have seen Barrack Obama really shine…making McCain, in my personal opinion, not even people really talk about. (Ex:I am voting for Obama; I am not voting for Obama; vs. I am voting for McCain; I am not voting for McCain)

This election, regardless of who I/you vote for, it has to be a vote of confidence. Confidence in the gaining the respect we as a country have lost in the last eight years. Confidence in our ability to pull ourselves out of this economic mess. Confidence to make this country can still be the best country in the world for us and our families to live and prosper.

With that said – I really do not feel the need to persuade you to vote one way or the other…but please vote. When your kids, grandkid, and if you are lucky, great-grandkids talk to you about this crazy turning point in history – by voting you can at least show them that you cared enough to actually make a choice.

My New Favorite HBO Show: Real Time with Bill Maher

I have been in a HBO slump for awhile now. The Wire and Sopranos are done. Curb Your Enthusiasm nor any other show I am really excited about is on…so I started to question why I was paying to get HBO. A few weeks ago I happened to catch Real Time with Bill Maher and really enjoyed it. I enjoy his humor, outlook on politics, and guests that really make for an interesting look at what is going on in politics today. I am sure Ken would pretty much hate him – but he does make an effort to bring both sides to the table. Anyway – that is what I have been enjoying on HBO lately.